Civil liberties groups have long objected that President Barack Obama has continued and even expanded on many of George Bush’s abuses in the area of national security, including blocking any investigation into the torture program. Now, civil liberties groups are targeting Obama’s continued use of an assassination list and his assertion that he can simply kill a U.S. citizen without any criminal charge or trial.
The lawsuit focuses on the reported kill order targeting U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, who is reportedly hiding in Yemen. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights have filed this interesting action, naming the President of the United States, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the secretary of the Department of Defense.
This could make for a very interesting case if the groups can establish standing, which is likely to be challenged by Attorney General Eric Holder. As usual, Congress has done little to explore the constitutionality of a president who claims the unilateral power to kill U.S. citizens upon sight.
If a President can unilaterally kill a U.S. citizens on his own authority, our court system (and indeed our constitutional rights) become entirely discretionary. The position of the Administration contains no substantial limitations on such authority other than its own promise to make such decisions with care.
Here is the complaint: Al-Aulaqi v. Obama Complaint
Source: Washington Post